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Online Tool Measures Cafes’ Carbon ‘Foodprint’

Environmental software firm FirstCarbon Solutions and food service management company Compass Group have launched an online tool to help Compass Group chefs and managers reduce energy, water and resource use.

The new Carbon Foodprint toolkit is available to all 9,900 Compass Group cafes in the US. Auburn University, Green Mountain College and software company SAP, which has cafes in its buildings, are already using the product, FirstCarbon Solutions and Compass Group say.

Carbon Foodprint allows chefs and managers to create customized strategies to reduce their operations’ carbon footprints by decreasing waste disposal, energy and water use. Food service managers can make up to 185 choices in four areas: menu engineering, kitchen services, site equipment and facilities. The software allows cafes to benchmark and measure the improvements made throughout the cafe, which can be shared with clients for annual reports, sustainability indexes and disclosure to public programs such as the Carbon Disclosure Project.

To develop the strategic planning portion of the Carbon Foodprint toolkit, Compass Group partnered with organizations that could provide specific contributions in their area of expertise, such as the Green Restaurant Association, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Food Service Technology Center, supported by Pacific Gas & Electric.

In phase 2 of this project, Compass Group teamed with FirstCarbon Solutions, which developed the sustainability metrics and hosts the online technology as part of its Sustainability Workbench platform. As part of the design and collaboration with Compass Group, FirstCarbon Solutions collected thousands of pieces of data on the production, packaging and transport of individually purchased food items, serving materials and cleaning chemicals required to manage a food service operation from cradle to customer.

The toolkit couples this information with site-specific operational data from individual cafes to provide real-time dashboards on the carbon, energy, water and wastes associated with all aspect of a food service operation.

In August 2012, the CDP expanded its partnership with FirstCarbon Solutions, under which FirstCarbon processes the greenhouse gas emissions and carbon management data of global corporations responding to the CDP Supply Chain program. A study by Verdantix published a month later that said FirstCarbon Solutions offers highly customizable software that adapts to their customers’ environmental management processes and meets their specific needs.

Also last summer, Compass Group, Domino’s Pizza, Greggs and Unilever Food Solutions along with 65 other UK hotels, restaurants, contract caterers and government departments agreed to cut food and associated packaging waste 5 percent by 2015, the equivalent of about 100 million meals.

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